Cinders Review Theatre Royal
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Review: Scottish Ballet’s Cinders at Theatre Royal

Grace, glitter and a tale as old as time. Caroline Dask heads to Theatre Royal to see Scottish Ballet’s production of Cinders, a modern take on the story of Cinderella…

In a world of whimsical musicals and purposeful plays, Scottish Ballet’s production of Cinders is a mesmerising ballet show.

While most of us are familiar with the classic tale of Cinderella, Scottish Ballet takes the familiarity of the story and adds a sprinkle of something truly unique and refreshing.

In this version of the tale, Cinders (Gina Scott) is orphaned by a fire and not long after, the Thorne family arrives to take over Cinders’ family shop, bringing with them the three ghastly children – Flossie (Alice Kawalek), Morag (Grace Horler) and Tarquin (Thomas Edwards).

The Thorne family’s cruelty dashes Cinders’ dreams of attending a royal ball when she receives an invitation. However, with the help of her parents’ magical appearance, Cinders is magically transformed into a radiant beauty, enabling her to attend the ball and capture the heart of Prince Louis.

Yet, as the clock strikes midnight, she flees, leaving behind only a slipper. Determined to find his true love, Prince Louis (Jerome Barnes) searches the kingdom for the owner of it…

Cinders Review Theatre Royal
Photo Credit: Andy Ross

Where’s The Catch?

What makes this ballet show so unique is the fact that this new production of a classic tale has a surprise in store for audiences. In some performances, Cinders is a woman swept off her feet by her Prince. Yet in others, Cinders is a man, swept off his feet by his Princess. Audiences don’t know which version they will experience until the curtain rises, and the performance begins.

In fact, for many, the change of lead is so subtle that it’s barely recognisable. In some small sections, choreography differs, and audiences might notice some interesting nuances in movements and their delivery. On this occasion, I got a treat of the classic narrative, one, in which Cinders is charmed by her Prince…

Cinders at Theatre Royal Review: Act One

Cinders Review Theatre Royal
Photo credit: Andy Ross

In a delightful fusion of classical ballet and contemporary storytelling, Scottish Ballet’s rendition of Cinders leaves me spellbound from the very first act. As the curtains rises, I’m suddenly in a world where magic intertwines with the human spirit, offering a fresh perspective on the timeless tale.

The dancers’ grace and precision are truly captivating and for someone who is a newbie to the world of ballet, the scene is simply enchanting. The masterful synchronisation of the dancers paired with the incredibly fascinating stage decorations and costumes is what makes this ballet show so appealing.

While Cinders is full of moments of breathtaking beauty and heartfelt emotion, there’s one scene, in particular, that stands out the most. As Flossie, Morag, and Tarquin fight for the attention of Prince Louis at the grand ball, their antics inject a dose of lighthearted hilarity into the production, showcasing the dancers’ impeccable comedic timing and infectious energy, paired perfectly with the brilliant live orchestra.

Cinders at Theatre Royal Review: Act Two

Cinders Review Theatre Royal
Photo credit: Andy Ross

Act Two portrays Prince Louis on a search for Cinders, with a lost slipper in hand. The choreography, infused with energy and emotion, reflects the urgency of the prince’s quest, drawing us as viewers deeper into the heart of the story with each graceful movement.

The highlight of Act Two undoubtedly comes during the climactic ending scene, as Prince Louis finally reunites with Cinders in a moment of pure magic and joy. Against the backdrop of the shimmering Christmas tree, the couple’s reunion is a sight to behold, as they embrace amidst a shower of glitter, their love shining brighter than ever before.

Cinders at Theatre Royal Review: The Cast

Cinders Review Theatre Royal
Photo credit: Andy Ross

Gina Scott’s portrayal of Cinders is nothing short of perfection, elevating the performance to new heights with her breathtaking technique and emotive storytelling. Whether she’s gracefully gliding across the stage or expressing raw emotion through dance, Scott’s performance is utterly captivating, holding the audience spellbound from start to finish.

Opposite Scott is Jerome Barnes, who embodies the role of Prince Louis with charm, charisma, and a dash of romanticism. He delivers every gesture and expression with a great sense of affection and devotion.

The Thorne family, portrayed by Aisling Brangan, Grace Horler, Alice Kawalek and Thomas Edwards adds a unique and charming dynamic to the whole production. The mix of individualities is evident and Thomas Edwards portrayal of a queer Tarquin is a breath of fresh air to the world of ballet.

Who Should See It?

While ballet enthusiasts will undoubtedly appreciate the technical brilliance and artistry on display, Cinders offers much more than just classical ballet. The production incorporates elements of contemporary dance, physical theatre, and even comedic performance, creating a dynamic experience that appeals to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional ballet or prefer more modern forms of expression, there’s something in Cinders for everyone to enjoy.

And if you’re working your way through a busy week at work, Cinders offers a moment to relax and unwind, while adding a tiny bit of sparkle to your day.

Scottish Ballet Cinders plays Newcastle Theatre Royal Wed 7 – 10 February 2024. Tickets are available here or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.